BULLDOG: 2010-11 is already a season to remember for Sabres
However the post-season turns out for the Sabres, this season is one I'll not soon forget. So much has happened. Lessons have been learned about giving up on players and teams. Mostly though, it has been the year I think fans fell back in love with their hockey team.
Back on January 11th, the Flyers beat the Sabres 5-2 at the arena and Daniel Briere had a goal and 3 assists. It was another night when Sabres fans were reminded of the team that fell apart in the Summer of '07. It didn't feel good.
Watching the crowd milling around the arena before the home finale Friday night, it struck me that for the first time, 2007 actually seemed like 4-years ago and not a date that would be haunting me anymore. The Sabres needed a point to clinch, were playing the Flyers, and more than 80 former players were about to be introduced in a pre-game ceremony. I sure wasn't thinking about '07 and I don't think many fans were either. That's gone now, I think.
We have Terry Pegula to thank for that. He provided what I felt was needed after that night back in January. A clean slate. I believe in what he and Ted Black are selling about hockey heaven and believing they can win. My sense is that many fans are buying in too. For me, that doesn't just go away when these playoffs end for the Sabres. Surely there will be disappointment whenever that happens, unless, well, you know, they win the whole thing. But that disappointment will not last long for me.
Good young players coming into their own. Emerging leaders. More size and toughness in the pipeline from the junior ranks. Why, the Sabres even seem to have 2 good goalies now.
It feels good to have a hockey team to believe in again.
Enjoy the playoffs. I know I will.